The internet of things is slowly percolating into the African market. The deployment of LTE in various markets across the continent is raising the stakes for IoT and innovators are excited. Moreover, mobile network operators are likely to push for narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) adoption.
Kenyan telecom company Safaricom plans to launch a narrowband IoT network for the Kenyan market. According to Thibaud Rerolle, the CTO at Safaricom, the launch of the network will inspire innovation and contribute greatly to improving the economy.
“I think IoT exemplifies nicely our vision to transform lives through technology. With the advent of narrowband IoT in our 4G network, this will give the capability to offer IoT use cases to the public,” Rerolle said in an ITWeb Africa article.
Down south, Vodacom South Africa launched an NB-IoT lab at its Vodaworld campus in Johannesburg, to spur innovation. The lab, which was opened in July, aims to host the machine-to-machine innovation that fuels IoT.
Deon Liebenberg, managing executive for Vodacom IoT says that “Vodacom’s NB-IoT lab provides a controlled test environment and framework for customers and developers to develop hardware and applications as well as test their end point devices on the NB-IoT network. Vodacom is investing heavily in South Africa’s NB-IoT ecosystem and we look forward to collaborating with developers and customers to realise its potential.”
It is expected that between 2017 and 2020, the number of connected things will grow from 8.4 billion to 20.4 billion due to NB-IoT. This is because the technology allows for connectivity in the hardest to access areas—which will increase business efficiencies and will offer new managed services opportunities—driving business to a total and always connected environment irrespective of where they operate in.